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September 2012 (98 posts)
The end of summer—not unlike the arrival of a 40th birthday—always makes me think of time. June, July and August seem to move on their own emotional clock, one that has a few different speeds: slow when it comes to hot afternoons, quick when it comes to a week of vacation, lightning-fast when it comes to considering the season as a whole in those last few final days of its fruition.
A friend of mine named Sam once described the three months right after the birth of his daughter as both "fast and slow at the same time." I knew what he meant: everything stops for a newborn and everything blurs by. This is why time is so fascinating. Its progress is so brazenly dependent on how we experience it. It can suspend and race. It can sludge by and whisk by and vanish completely—concurrently. Which is why I so liked seeing this video I found on The Laughing Squid.
Note how the clip only lasts just over a minute. But it seems as if it lasts for much, much longer. Three whole fat balloons bounce by after all, over and over. If I were the kind of person who uploaded videos onto her phone, I would keep this one close by, for all those dark horrible moments when I realize that my son's birthday was nine—not two—months ago or that my mother sold our old house 20—not five years—ago, at which point I scream to myself "Wait! Stop! It's all going so fast!"
Because, as odd as it may sound, the water balloon may be the only rival to the human brain, when it comes to slowing down time. Be each rubber ball manipulated by cameras (as in: here) or tossed towards our heads (as in: the park), these wonderfully lumbersome, cumbersome objects make us realize just how long 60 seconds can last. All for the price of 5 cent a (sorry) a pop.
Martha Beck manages time
Ways to love your life before the end of summer
The site Spontaneous Smiley offers an online trove of unabashedly happy mugs in the least expected places. I defy you to look at the smiley gallery without cracking a smile yourself. In fact, I believe such a feat is physically impossible. Within a few moments you'll figure out that even cookies and car bumpers smile, even houses and haystacks. It's like the secular version of the Virgin Mary potato chip phenomenon. Before you know it, even the most mundane of everyday objects seems animated, friendly, imbued with a mysterious, goofy, affable life. Go ahead, join the hunt and upload your own found face, because here's the best news of all: for every photo uploaded to the gallery, the site donates a dollar to Operation Smile, which provides operations for children with facial deformities. By spotting a smile, you help make a new one. Pretty sweet.
Collecting Every Smile in the World
The Invention of the Smiley Emoticon
How Smiling Makes You Feel Better
The voice of NASA administrator Charles Bolden was radioed to the rover, to the surface of Mars, and back to Earth again, which is the first instance of the recorded human voice traveling to space and back again. Somehow he resisted the urge to just recite the opening lines of "Star Trek," and instead congratulated all those who had a part of making Curiosity a reality. Hear the message (and see the maybe-bored, maybe-subtly-inspired faces of listening NASA employees!) here.
Dave Lavery, NASA Curiosity program executive explained on CNN that, "We hope these words will be an inspiration to someone alive today who will become the first to stand upon the surface of Mars. And like the great Neil Armstrong, they will speak aloud of that next giant leap in human exploration."
While considering the deeply strange idea that a human voice is proclaiming the greatness of the United States to an uninhabited (probably) crater on Mars, let's also celebrate the fact that the human voice selected didn't belong to a reality-show star or Hollywood actress or even a political powerhouse, but a hard-working, intelligent employee. Go Charles!
Dare Mighty Things: Celebrating Curiosity
Real Life Visitors from Outer Space
-52-year-old Ex-Marine Angela Madsen, who became paraplegic, homeless, and now, a Paralympian.
"I started taking responsibility ... and started making the changes and decisions to move positively forward in my life. I didn't row across my first ocean until I was 47. I have six Guinness World Records for rowing oceans. I've circumnavigated Great Britain ... I've been places on this planet that no human being has ever been before. A thousand miles from land in any direction ... it's been a pretty amazing life."
This is because Cassandra found herself suffering a debilitating asthma attack that quickly escalated to something more, a mystery illness that caused her to feel faint, have difficulty breathing and then controlling her muscles, and finally to lose consciousness. But in a completely "wow"-inducing sequence (which she has pieced together from what others have told her), a man carried her off the train and then proceeded to, along with a cast of other good Samaritans, transport her to the hospital. Read the article for the responses Cassandra has gotten from her poster—though she still has not found the man who carried her to safety.
9 Day-Brightening Stories of Generosity
Doing a Good Deed Every Day